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by Amanda Amerman

I came from a family that never really talked about vaccines. For most of my life I didn’t even know what vaccines I was given as a child. I only found out when I was pregnant with my own, and at that point my overall knowledge of their importance was still pretty limited.

When my baby was born, I decided that getting the recommended childhood vaccines (like for measles and whooping cough) was best for them and our family. However I wasn’t as educated about the flu shot and so was a little more susceptible to misinformation. I was told that “even if you get the flu shot you can still get the flu so it’s pointless.” And at the time it made sense: Why on earth would I want to subject my kids to a shot if it wasn’t going to keep them from getting sick? So I didn’t get my 2 year old the flu shot.

That’s one of my biggest regrets as a mom.

Flu can be deadly for kids.

My child wound up with the flu that very winter. He was having normal symptoms until about day 5 or 6, and then I could tell something had changed. When I called the pediatrician they told me to take him to the hospital immediately. His flu had turned into pneumonia, which might not sound scary if you haven’t seen it. But I could literally hear the fluid in his tiny lungs each time he took a breath.

Here I was, watching my 2 year old fight for his life because of a decision I made with misinformation, based not on facts but someone else’s influence. I trusted them rather than trusting my own provider and getting educated about vaccines, and for that I could have lost my son.

The trauma of that experience is unmatched for me. I’m one of the lucky ones because my son survived, but there have been thousands of parents in the US alone that lost their baby to influenza over the years. I get all my children flu shots now and my partner and I also get vaccinated. This whole experience made me realize that If I can save them from being sick, even for just one day, then that’s my responsibility as a mom.

Amanda’s son, five years later.

We must do our due diligence as parents, rather than letting ourselves be influenced by rumors or propaganda. We have to fight for our children. Vaccinating them and ourselves is one of the best ways to protect not just your own child but the many children within our communities.

Amanda Amerman is a mom and booking agent from New Jersey. Amanda’s story, like all others on this blog, was a voluntary submission. If you want to help make a difference, submit your own post by emailing Noah at [email protected]. We depend on real people like you sharing experience to protect others from misinformation.

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